Geocaching - Hi tech Hide and Seek
What is Geocaching?
Geocaching is best described as an outdoor sport or leisure activity which involves the participant discovering the hiding places of secret "Caches" which may be hidden anywhere outdoors, anywhere in the world.
It's a sort of hi-tech game of "hide and seek" in which GPS receivers are often employed to pinpoint the exact final location of the hidden cache.
Typically a cache consists of a small waterproof container (often of the Tupperware type) which will contain a logbook in which the finder can write the time and date of his discovery together with his signature and often some minor trinkets for trading, such as button badges or key-fobs etc.
Containers can be large or small. They can even be disguised as other things.
Check out the Amazon ad below. This is advertising a Geocache which is disguised as a rusty old bolt! It's magnetic so that it can be attached to such things as gate hinges!
Geocache disguised as a Rusty Bolt
The perfect cache container to blend into urban environments, never to be spotted by the eyes of a muggle! This bolt cache container is 1 and 1/4 inches long, 3/4 inches at the widest point and includes a magnet to stick to metal surfaces. A log sheet is included inside along with a metal toggle to fish the sheet out. The bolt is available in two colors, to fit in with either a silver or rust environment.
A MoreTypical Geocache Container
More on Geocaching
Anybody remember "Letterboxing"? - No, didn't think so!
Geocaching is a modern development of a game called "Letterboxing" which was popular some 150 years ago, in which Landmark references and other clues were embedded into stories.
The advent of modern cheap hand-held GPS devices allowed for even small containers, hidden in the middle of nowhere to be accurately pinpointed.
The first known GPS located Geocache happened on May 3rd 2000 by Dave Ulmer of Beavercreek, Oregon. The original Geocache was a black bucket half buried into the ground and it contained Videos, books,software,money, a slingshot and food.
The actual site now displays a memorial plaque - The Original Stash Tribute Plaque. Yes that says "Stash" and not "Cache" this is because it was originally known as "GPS Stash Hunt" or "Geostashing", but it was felt that the term "Stash" could have negative connotations and so the name Geocaching was adopted instead.
So, Who places What, and Where?
Any Geocacher can hide a Cache. This will be a waterproof recepticle containing a log book (with a pen or pencil) and small trinkets to trade. The coordinates of the cache together with other details of the hide site ( which can literally be anywhere, town or country), are then recorded and posted on a listing site.
Those who are searching for a local Geocach can then download the coordinates from the listing site and set about their search. If you are looking for a listing site, probably the best place to start would be at OpenCaching.com which can even list Geocaches based on your postal code. There are many other list sites, some more commercial than others but all are easily found through Google
Apart from the traditional Geocache described above, there are other flavours available to the Geocache addict, including:
Multi-Cache. This is a series of caches, one leading on to the next until you find the final cache which contains the log book and trade items.
Night-Cache. A bit like the multi-cache, but designed to be found at night (the clue is in the title), by following a series of reflectors with a torch/flashlight to the final location.
Mystery-Cache. Here you are required to solve some sort of puzzle or puzzles to gain access to the final location coordinates.
Webcam-Cache. Here you will find no log books trade items or anything else - Just a webcam. The finder is usually required to capture their image on the webcam as proof that they found it!
There are many more variations than mentioned above, but this will give you a taste of what is possible with Geocaching
How do I Start?
All that's really required is some form of hand-held GPS device and access to a listing site.
Apart from dedicated hand-held GPS receivers (which can often be picked up quite cheaply on Ebay), many modern mobile phones (Android, iPhone, WebOS, and Windows7) have GPS applications which are ideal for the purpose.
So why not put on your walking boots, pick up your iPhone and get going!
Had you ever heard about Geocaching before this Article?
Nifty Geocache Stuff
Pre-Made Micro Caches!
These include 5 matching color (Green or Tan) Rite in the Rain logs. Ready to go!
Available in two colors, Green and Tan.
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